Sunday, April 14, 2024

Keep King’s dream alive


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It’s the time of the year when Americans, be they native-born or immigrant, focus national attention on one the greatest historical figures in United States history, Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
And they do it in song, speeches, federal, state and city proclamations, dance, at organized breakfasts, luncheons or dinners.
The celebrations take place in the days leading up to or immediately after the third Monday in January, which is the Dr Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday which will be observed tomorrow.
Judge Sylvia Hinds Radix, a Barbadian and an associate justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department of the New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, said: “Without Dr King and what he stood for, advocated and eventually lost his life in pursuit of there is little doubt I wouldn’t be on the bench in the State of New York.
“Had it not been for Dr King we wouldn’t have a black person (President Barack Obama) in the White House; a black lawyer as the nation’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, who has Barbadian roots; a black woman, Letitia James, as the New York City Public Advocate; and Eric Adams as the new Borough President of Brooklyn, the first black person elected to that office. We have all benefited from Dr King’s work.
“Of the many important things Dr King taught us is that we must think of others and give back something to society,” said Justice Hinds-Radix, one of the highest placed state appeals court jurists in the country.
“He urged us to look out for each other, to give back.”
That explains why a few days ago in the historic Brooklyn Borough Hall building where the Caribbean-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry held its annual Dr King Memorial breakfast that the judge appealed to the more than 250 people gathered in the ornate chamber to live up to the ideals articulated by   King, the chief spokesman for the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
“People just focus on Dr King and the non-violent aspect of his life,” said the judge.
“Many don’t realize that one of the things he wanted us to do was to look out for each other. One way to do that is through the education of our children. We have to educate our young people. Far too many of them are not being told about Dr King’s message and what he was able to achieve because of his sacrifices. Our children must receive a sound education and the adults must have a major role in that.”
The Bajan jurist is practicing what she preaches.
Despite her elevated place in the state judiciary, she gives up three hours of family time away from the courts every Saturday to tutor groups of elementary, middle and high school students in Brooklyn.
English, mathematics and social studies are among the subjects covered during sessions in which her husband, Dr Joe Radix, a Brooklyn dentist, and their daughters take part.
“Actually, I have to give my husband credit for encouraging me to get involved in the tutoring programme of the Barbados Ex-Police Association,” she said.
“It’s an important outreach effort by the association and it’s a way for me and my family giving back to a community some of what it has given to us. If we can help our young people then we are doing something that’s very important. The Barbados Association is making a significant contribution as well.
“I took the opportunity offered by the Dr King breakfast to reach out to a larger City audience and encourage them to get involved,” Hinds-Radix said afterwards. I wanted to draw attention to what the Barbados Ex-Police Association is doing to live up to some of Dr King’s principles,” she said.
Several of the City’s top officials were in the audience. Among them were Scott Stringer, the new comptroller, who is the chief watchdog over the City multi-billion dollar pension programme for retired municipal workers, and Brooklyn’s new Borough President, Eric Adams, the first black person elected to that office.


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